The Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was packed with developers, politicians and New York celebrities, more than 600 in all, for the funeral of Fred C. Trump, the builder whose no-frills brick rental towers transformed Brooklyn and Queens.
Three of his four living children, who had grown up listening to the sermons of the church’s most famous minister, Norman Vincent Peale, offered loving eulogies to their father. Then it was Donald Trump’s turn.
He began by talking about himself.
He had learned of his father’s death, he told the crowd that day in June 1999, just moments after reading a front-page New York Times article about his biggest development to date, Trump Place.
“Donald started his eulogy by saying, ‘I was having the greatest year of my business career, and I was sitting having breakfast thinking of how well things were going for me,’” when he learned of his father’s death, said Alan Marcus, a former public relations consultant for the Trump Organization. “Donald’s eulogy was all about Donald, and everybody in Vincent Peale’s church knew it.”
Gwenda Blair, a Trump family biographer, also attended the funeral. She, too, could not help but take note of the eulogy, which she described in her book “The Trumps.”
“Was it surprising?” Ms. Blair said in an interview. “No. Was it stunning? Yes.”
Whether he is dealing with the loss of a family member, the deaths of nearly 150,000 Americans in a surging pandemic, more than 30 million people out of work or the racial unrest brought on by the killings of African-Americans by white police officers, President Trump almost never shows empathy in public. A book published this summer by his niece, Mary L. Trump, has focused renewed attention on this trait. [Continue reading…]